The Romance And Tragedy of Soviet Yiddish Culture
Part of the Yiddish Book Center's Online Lecture Series
In 1919, the new Soviet state named Yiddish the “official language” of Soviet Jewry. To this day, Yiddish is still one of the state languages of Birobidzhan, the Jewish Autonomous Region of Russia. In the intervening years, Soviet Jewish culture-makers produced some of the most avant-garde, creative forms of Jewish culture anywhere in the world. At the same time, the Soviet state that had empowered them ended up destroying them and their culture, person by person, institution by institution. These lectures examine the romance of radical Yiddish culture and the tragedy that destroyed many of the most creative minds of that culture.
Lecture 1 – The Early Years of Soviet Yiddish Culture
In this first session, we will examine Soviet Jewish culture-makers, who developed their craft in the heat of war and revolution and created an avant-garde Yiddish culture to which much of the world looked for inspiration.
Lecture 2 – Stalinism and Yiddish Culture
The 1930s were, by some measures, the heyday of Soviet Yiddish culture. At the same time, 1930s Soviet Yiddish literature moved away from avant-garde poetry and towards realist novels, and theater went from radical egalitarianism to the production of classical Shakespeare…in Yiddish. In this session, we will study the contradictions of Stalinist Yiddish culture.
Lecture 3 – Yiddish During and After the War
In this session, we will study the many faces of wartime Soviet Yiddish culture and the postwar destruction of many of those institutions that had helped mobilize the Soviet Jewish population.
Lecture 4 – From Heymland to a Non-Jewish Jewish Autonomous Region The secret Soviet trials for treason of important members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee revealed Soviet Yiddish cultural activists’ resistance to and complicity with the Stalinist state. But with Stalin’s death in 1953, Khrushchev’s rise to power, and the “Thaw” in cultural relations, Soviet Yiddish culture saw a revival. In this session, we will look at the twenty-five years since the fall of the Soviet Union, in which Soviet Yiddish culture has gone global.
- 2020-03-30 11:02:53
- Internet Archive Python library 1.9.0
IN COLLECTIONSYiddish Book Center Multimedia Library
Uploaded by Yiddish Book Center on